USS hopefuls debate issues

Breanne George

USS elections: the second debate

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Date: March 8

Place: the Rathskeller

The issue of permanent seats on the Undergraduate Student Senate Allocations Committee was a point of heated discussion yesterday as USS candidates faced off in a presidential-style debate.

About 30 students came to the Centennial Court B conference room for the forum, which was sponsored by the Centennial Leadership Academy. The CLA created a list of questions the moderator asked the candidates. Aman Ali, editorial writer and student affairs reporter for the Daily Kent Stater, agreed to serve as moderator in the interest of fairness, as Caitlin Faas, junior education major and candidate for academic affairs senator, is a member of the CLA.

The candidates were permitted two minutes to state their platform ideas. Following their presentations, Ali asked the candidates questions, allowing them two minutes to answer. Their opponents then were given one minute for rebuttal. At the end of the forum, students from the audience were encouraged to ask questions to the candidates.

Sean Groves, junior finance major and candidate for business and finance senator, said he wants to get rid of permanent seats on the Allocations Committee because he sees them as unfair to smaller organizations. Currently, USS, Black United Students, the All Campus Programming Board and the Intercollegiate Greek Programming Board have permanent seats.

“It is highly unfair because it gives those groups an unfair advantage,” he said.

Nathan Williams, junior education major and Groves’ opponent for the business and finance seat, said he believes the removal of permanent seats would hinder diversity on the committee.

“There needs to be different types of people, and I don’t just mean race,” he said. “I mean different ideologies.”

Ross Miltner, current community affairs senator and candidate for executive director, said he is running because he has disagreed with past USS decisions and programs that were not the best use of undergraduate students’ tuition dollars. His main goals are to work with the ACPB to improve programming and remove permanent seats on the Allocations Committee.

Miltner said he would get things done by working with senators but allowing them breathing room to accomplish their goals.

“I want to give everyone enough room to run with their own platforms,” he said. “People are independent and capable enough to stay on task. I want to have meetings at key points in the semester to ensure they are well on their way to achieve their platforms.”

PRIDE!Kent President Christopher Taylor, the other candidate for executive director, said he could not attend yesterday’s forum.

Candidates for academic affairs senator, junior education major Caitlin Faas and Preston Mitchum had opposing views on the XF grade, which notes plagiarism or cheating on a student’s permanent record.

“I see the XF grade as the death penalty,” said Mitchum, who is currently senator for student advancement. “The students will have to suffer the consequences for life.”

Mitchum wants to put a pamphlet together to educate students on plagiarism and cheating at Kent State.

Caitlin Faas agreed with the XF grading system because she said it is effective at universities and gives students the chance to defend themselves.

“If a person is going to bother with cheating in the first place, then they shouldn’t have loopholes,” she said. “Honest students could fail a class and work hard, so I think this is a process the faculty has to use.”

Kourtney Wolfgang, junior business management major and candidate for research and development senator, said her main goal is to find innovative ways to reach students via polls, since e-mail surveys are not effective.

“Programs like Cabin Fever Week students weren’t interested in,” she said. “We have to find out what they are interested in.”

Public safety was a major focus of the candidates for university affairs senator, Richard Wittkopp and Megan Sedello.

“Students need to be aware of safety issues on campus,” said Sedello, who is running for re-election as university affairs senator.

Donovan Hill, junior political science major and candidate for student relations senator, also focused on public safety in his campaign.

Candidates will debate again from 5 to 7 p.m. March 8 in the Rathskeller, where they will be answering students’ questions.

Contact student politics reporter Breanne George at [email protected].